This is Sunset St in Beverly Mass. My First home. I was born Sept 19th 1956 and my name is Kassee Lane. I want to tell you the story about my life with my first brother named Robert H Tedford Jr .
April 26th 1959, my brother was born in Beverly, Mass. Robert was born with Downs Syndrome.
Before Robert was born I was the only child. I am not to sure how I felt about the new member of the family, but we had bonded I think deep inside me, I knew my little brother was different. We were born on the North Shore in Mass.
I am not sure of the exact time or day, I did not over hear any conversation, so this is “here say”, That my father’s sister tried to tell my mother, they believed my brother was a Mongol. which is a facial trait most all children Born with Downs Syndrome have. Mentally Retarded was the cruel words of everyone including Doctors and Nurses. More and More children born with Downs Syndrome were placed on the steps of asylum’s, no names no notes. Just another Baby born and parents are told they have a Mongrel.. You had a choice take the baby home or let the hospital dispose of the problem.
Depending on the people who just can’t see past the ONE extra Gene.. Sad to say my brother did come home with my parents from the hospital, But they had not known Robert was born with Downs. he was slow in the normal time given for a normal baby.. so he not sitting up on his own at 6 months or 8 month closer to a year, a baby born without Downs would be walking by a year.. Robert and I are two years apart. I became his little mom as I was told I was responsible for my little brother . Later on in life I would understand what this meant.
I call the “HAPPY GENE”. Mentally challenged children and adults, are always happy, always forgiving, My life with my brother who was born with Downs Syndrome, he was slow, but he was very smart and clever.
He lived at home and we played, we went to school, we had a bond. I think somehow I became his mom at the age of 4, I was teaching him. watching over him, even protecting him. After our family had grown and I had two more little brothers.
I guess when the photographer told us to look up we all did..
Here we are In the sandbox in the backyard my two cousins and myself Robert and Bruce with his back towards us .. if you look closely you can see for some reason there is a rope tied around Robert and to the fence.
1964-? My father was given a engineer position at the Hercules Power Company in New Jersey. Next thing I knew the movers came and packed everything into this huge moving truck, and off we went in the car and headed to our new home in Mt. Arlington, New Jersey. I was in the 2nd Grade and Robert was in kindergarten and he also went to school with me. Robert was in the special ed class and he always liked to wear a dress shirt and a tie..I think he was respectable and like to dress like our dad.
Robert’s first day of public school always so proud and happy !!
I think everyone needs to be born with the “Happy Gene”
Robert, myself and my two other brothers lived in New Jersey for a few yrs, when my dad was transferred to Cumberland Md. we lived in a Duplex. I am not sure why but Robert didn’t go to school. So he would be home all day with our mother and I felt she was not the best person to take care of him. My mother kept her distance not just from him, but from myself as well. I remember on the trip from New Jersey to Maryland in the car that all four of us kids had gotten the chicken pox, so all us were laying down in the back of the station wagon covered in calamine lotion.
We were not even in Maryland for a year and my dad was transferred to a new company In Sterling Forrest NY. He worked for the Union Carbon Company. So we moved into a ranch style home in Rockland County, NY and then all the fun began. Robert was going to school he would go to the special ed, He would get on the school bus with me and my brothers. We all went to the same school. For me only one year. I came home and usually my brother would be home before me, but this day he was nowhere to be found. MY parents I’m sure more of my mother’s idea, but they put him in the horrible place called “Letchworth Village” in Haverstraw NY.
My brother got in trouble for a lot of things, I personally thought was funny. One night he got up found some white shoe polish and proceeded to do every bodies shoes.. But instead of showing him what is was he did wrong..along came the strap… always broke my heart to hear him cry and those famous words now “stop that crying before i give you something to cry about”. I don’t think anything that he did called for him to be beaten, and strapped down to his bed. She would have Robert, in the one bedroom that was downstairs and where everyone else had rooms upstairs.
My mom would put a hook lock on the outside of the door, so i would go down unhook the door and lay down with my brother. You could tell he was afraid of her and so was I. I saw what she would do to Robert, so before she could hit him i would say I did it and I would be what she called spanked.. but it was worth it to keep her from hitting Robert.
When we would go outside to play she always tied him to a tree like he was a puppy. Here you can see the rope around the fence post and around Robert’s waist
This would get me so upset and always defended my brother. I realized later in life and viewing pictures of him even when we lived in Mass as babies he was always tied up or in a playpen with no toys. Not even a mat it was just inside those vintage wooden playpens with no toys makes me very sad that our own Mother could care less.
Part 2 – Coming soon.